Urban Forestry Field Technologist (Urban Forester), City of Guelph
I was born/grew up in: Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
I now live in: Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
I completed my training/education at: Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry at Lakehead University
Describe what you do at work.
Much of my day is spent talking to residents, reviewing tree related plans for construction and development, coordinating projects and contractors. I’m also involved in planning and budgeting of the projects and also hiring the consultants or contractors. I develop standards, policies and guidelines related to trees such as tree planting and protection guidelines for the City of Guelph. I review and issue permits for requests to cut trees down on private property. I also work with residents on ways to preserve, care for and plant more trees. I work in the Forestry department as part of a team to collaborate and work together on planning for and carryout our activities.
STEM is very important for my job as Forestry is a science-based field. Most of what I do is influenced by plant biology, soil science, engineering and environment. Mapping through GIS and data management are also very useful in Forestry. I use a mobile tablet to collect information on the trees in the City. This includes information such as species, size, health and location.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect peoples lives?
I very much enjoy what I do because the things I do today will have an impact years in the future. The role of an urban forester is to ensure that the City's urban forest is healthy and managed sustainably. This ultimately effects the health of the City's environment and the health of the people living in the City.
What motivates you in your career?
I am motivated by knowing the impact of what I do reaches beyond me and my office. What I do impacts the City from one end to the other and every person living in it. I am excited to be part of a field that is still new. I’m also happy to be part of a new movement in Forestry in which we have a deeper understanding and relationship with the trees and ecosystems in the places where most people live. Urban Forestry has a vibrant and committed community of professionals who are as excited about their careers as I am.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
My original plan was to go to art school. But I always had a fascination with the natural world and took a chance and entered the forestry program at Lakehead. I was concerned because I was not academically strong in maths so I was concerned that I would not succeed in the sciences. The risk paid off and I thrived in university. It taught me how to think outside of the box and if feed my appetite for knowledge. The program I took was unique because it was also very hands on and included a lot of field work.
Once out of school I had the opportunity to work in Forestry but along the way I also worked in automotive engineering and also civil engineering. It was this combined experience which brought me to where I am today. Urban Forestry was not formally recognized as a career when I went to school. It is a unique combination of Forestry, Arboriculture, Civil Engineering, Planning, Environmental Planning and Urban design. Although some may think that Forestry is a male dominated field this is not true as many of the people I work with or encounter in my field are women.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
In my spare time I obviously enjoy the outdoors, but more specifically I love the beach and gardening.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Never stop learning, be curious, ask questions and never be afraid of making a mistake. Every 'mistake' I've made has only proved to push me ahead in my career. Lastly, never doubt that you can do what you set your mind to even if it seems impossible.
Lets Talk Science is grateful to Skills Canada Ontario for connecting us with this individual.